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Bridging intra-organizational borders – Middle managers’ interventions as a contribution to organizational learning.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The extent, to which middle managers mainly execute decisions made by higher-level managers in the authority hierarchy, or substantially take part in those decisions, varies with business habits and company cultures. Where middle managers do get involved in higher-level processes of decision making conditions are afforded that may guide their own understanding and acting when taking the issues further down the hierarchy. Thus, it becomes relevant to develop understanding on how middle managers in such settings think and intervene in their organization when effecting strategic changes in work activities.

Large enterprises organize themselves hierarchically and organizational borders emerge along with the organizational structure, this is inevitable. Those borders also become obstacles for humans and ideas to move within the organization. Thus, a need to exceed the borders is also inevitable. Depending on the complexity of the task of the business the need for movements across organizational borders differs. In large research and development organizations, such as the one in the study reported here, the movements of people and ideas between organization units are essential for organizational learning to occur. In turn, organizational learning (OL) is indispensable to meet with the sharp competition on the global market where the company has to survive. The acknowledged leadership researcher Yukl(2009)identifies OL as an “important determinant of long-term performance and survival for organizations” (p. 49).

The aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, the aim is to elucidate interventions made by middle managers striving to make people in their organization to bridge and work across intra-organizational borders. Secondly, the aim is to discuss how these interventions can be understood as pedagogic interventions made by the middle managers and as contributing to organizational learning. The empirical foundation is a case study in aglobal research and development organization within the software communication industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Organizational learning; middle managers; organizational borders
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-70051OAI: diva2:478858
Paper presented at Forum för arbetslivsforskning (FALF) June 16-17 2011, in Umeå.
Organizational learning across borders
Available from: 2012-01-17 Created: 2012-01-17 Last updated: 2012-01-30

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